Friday, February 21, 2014

The Founding of the Homeplace - Summer 1860, Progress Report, Part 1 of 2

The Founding of the Homeplace
Summer 1860, Progress Report
Part 1 of 2

"The Founding of the Homeplace" stories will continue here on every other Friday during August and September. This is a serial presentation of the story, beginning in 1833, when four families decided to settle the land, the valley, that would become the setting of the first two books in the The Homeplace Saga: "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited" and subsequent series stories, set in 1987 and 1996, to date. The underlying premise of this series is the desire of the family matriarch to retain the family farm in the southern Missouri Ozarks in whole and in the family. 

Characters in this series become actively involved in the study of their family history and snippets of that research appear, from time to time through the series (one example). This serial presentation begins to share that ‘research’ in Story Form, and, some of the Stories represent 'writings of the family' that were ‘discovered’ in the process of that research. Each Story is an essay or report of the activities of the initial four families and their descendants that settled the Homeplace – the farm and the surrounding valley.

Summer 1860, Progress Report

In this episode, we share "Part 1 of 2"

In the past five years our valley has matured and grown slowly. We have added xxx building to our town site, four new farms have been started by new neighbors, and several new homes were built in town by residents already living in the valley.

In the summer of 1859, the marriage of two young people, each born in this valley to members of the founding families, was an occasion for wide and gala celebrations. Jane Truesdale, oldest daughter of the first couple to be married in the valley, in the fall of 1833, Hugh and Victoria (Patton) Truesdale, married Daniel McDonald, son of Henry and the late Laura McDonald. They expected to have a long and happy life together and looked forward to starting their family. 

Prior to the McDonald-Truesdale wedding, Hugh and Victoria Truesdale, along with 9-year-old daughter, Nellie, had built a new home in the southeast residential neighborhood in Oak Springs and planned to move there. Daniel and Jane would then start there married life in the family home on the farm in the east valley.

In the McDonald household, Harry and Sarah’s oldest daughter, Caroline had spent the 1857-58 and the 1858-59 school years in St. Louis with relatives attending a girl’s academy and had now returned to the family farm. Sons, Thomas and Patrick, 15 and 13, respectively, were actively engaged with their father and grandfather in both the farming and the freight line business, but in very different ways. Thomas seemed to always be fully engaged, looking for ways to contribute, and expressed interest in taking on more responsibilities in each area as he matured. Patrick, on the other hand, as often is the case with a second son, in this case, was only interested in participating to the extend his family obligations required. Growing up, he and his GranPa Henry, along with younger brother Alex, now 11, had spend much time in the woods and along the streams, hunting, fishing and trapping, when required farm work and freight line obligations did not require their presence. Now a teenager, Patrick spent more and more time pursuing these activities alone, especially exploring and running trap lines in streams to the south from their farm, including tributaries of Oak Creek, deep in the hills. There he often encountered other young men, from the south, coming north into those same streams, woods, and hills. The northern and southern settlements, because of the topography, continued to be separated by about four to five miles. Perhaps it was the allure of the wilderness in this stretch that drew the interests of all the young men, north and south. Two more daughters had also joined the McDonald household, Mahala, in 1852, and Rebecca, in 1855.

Lewis Truesdale had spent the previous school years in Jefferson City living with his Truesdale grandparents and attending Secondary School there. He was now back working with the family businesses. 

Jacobi Inman reduced his travel time by bringing his hometown childhood sweetheart, Belinda, back to Oak Springs as his wife in the summer of 1857. They lived with his parents.

Just four new families moved into the valley to purchase and establish new farms in the past five years. Each of them came from the north this time, having become familiar with the Oak Creek valley from visits to the mill. They recognized that there were still a few pieces of ground with better soil than where they had been further north in the water shed. Ephraim and Beulah Bressie were the first of these to arrive in the spring of 1856. They located straight north of town on the 160 acre section directly north of the Jesse Bartlett farm. The following spring, Abner and Delta Wingfield located their family ‘across the road’ along the North Spring Run from the Bressie family, on the southwest side of the small waterway. Their 160 acres were directly west of the Bressie place and directly north of the Oliver Dodson farm. This made three homes now situated on the road straight north across the Houston Road, effectively an extension north of Central Avenue in town.


  1. Love this idea of sharing a snipet. Plus great story line.

    1. Thank you, Kathleen! I'm mostly happy that you, and many others, do seem to be reading them. What fun! Much appreciated! ;-)